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Association of serum microcystin levels with neurobehavior of school-age children in rural area of Southwest China: A cross-sectional study.

Zeng H, Tan Y, Wang L, Xiang M, Zhou Z, Chen JA, Wang J, Zhang R, Tian Y, Luo J, Huang Y, Lv C, Shu W, Qiu Z. Association of serum microcystin levels with neurobehavior of school-age children in rural area of Southwest China: A cross-sectional study. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety. 2021 Apr 1; 212:111990.

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To investigate whether microcystin-LR (MC-LR) influences children''s cognitive function and memory ability, we measured serum MC-LR and whole blood lead levels in 697 primary students, and collected their academic and neurobehavioral test scores. The median of serum MC-LR levels was 0.80 µg/L (the value below the limit of detection to 1.67 µg/L). The shapes of the associations of serum MC-LR levels (cut-point: 0.95 µg/L) with scores on academic achievements, digit symbol substitution test and long-term memory test were parabolic curves. Logistic regression analysis showed that MC-LR at concentrations of 0.80-0.95 µg/L was associated with the increased probability of higher achievements on academic achievements [odds ratio (OR)  =  2.20, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.28-3.79], and also with scores on digit symbol substitution test (OR  =  1.73, 95% CI: 1.05-2.86), overall memory quotient (OR  =  2.27, 95% CI: 1.21-4.26), long-term memory (OR  =  1.85, 95% CI: 1.01-3.38) and short-term memory (OR  =  2.13, 95% CI: 1.14-3.98) after adjustment for confounding factors. Antagonism of MC-LR and lead on long-term memory was observed (synergism index  =  0.15, 95% CI: 0.03-0.74). In conclusion, serum MC-LR at concentrations of 0.80-0.95 µg/L was positively associated with higher scores on cognitive and neurobehavioral tests, and antagonism between MC-LR at concentrations of 0.80-1.67 µg/L and lead exposure was obviously observed on long-term memory in children. Concerning that MC-LR is a neurotoxin at high doses, our observation is interesting and need further investigation.

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